Question: What does it mean to be called?
Answer: It usually means to be selected by God to do some form of full-time ministry. The bigger question is how that happens? Undoubtedly God has put it on the hearts of some individuals that they are to pursue full time pastoring or missions, etc. But this should always and will always be accompanied by gifts God gives to these individuals that are recognized by faithful members of the Body of Christ. An example of this is Acts 13:1-3 where Paul and Barnabas are said to be called by God and through prophetic utterance the church is told to set them apart for missions ministry. But they have already been demonstrating gifting and faithful service for years. Can someone resist this calling or forfeit it by misconduct? I think so. Paul said he labored to maintain faithful ministry lest he be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
In one sense every Christian is called. We are all subject to obey the great commission Jesus gave us before he ascended to heaven (Matthew 28:19,20). We may also say we have a career calling. But the call to carry out the great commission is the highest priority. Nevertheless, God often wants us to use our career calling to help establish our witness and enhance our ability to carry out the great commission. Some are called to make doing the great commission their entire focus, usually with the idea of helping the rest of the Body become more equipped to do their part in making disciples of all nations (Ephesians 4:11,12).
A Different Church Building (Photo credit: justshootingmemories)
Question: I am a “new” Christian and I have a question that concerns me. I do not have a church home and to be perfectly honest, I have not found one that makes me comfortable. There seems to be too much politics involved, so to speak. I pray, I believe that Jesus died for me, I study my Bible and I listen to various services on TV and have received much knowledge by doing so. My life is dedicated to serving my Lord but I do not want to displease Him. Is it necessary to have a church home?
Answer: Yes, I believe it is necessary to have a church home. I know that there are unpleasant interactions in any body of people gathered for a common purpose. Politics, the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units, is an inevitable part of any collective body. But the politics of the church should be about implementing the will of our Leader, Jesus Christ. His apostles, who were his authoritative spokesmen for the faith, planted churces wherever they went. That is, they called together the believers for the purpose of meeting in unity around the authoritative gospel message and to worship together their Savior. They appointed leaders to help govern the church. But of course, from the very beginning there were leaders who did not lead well and plenty of opportunities for church members to get upset with each other.
It is in this kind of situation, however, that we learn that we are just as capable of the very errors we hate and in which we must learn to love and be loved. Like marriage, which is also a very imperfect reperesentation of the ideal love we want to experience, the institution becomes a laboratory for learning love. If we submit to the Lord and ask him to help us be shaped by love and be shapers of others by our love, he will certainly work that in us. We need the accountability of others in our lives and to be those who offer accountability.
This is why it says:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).
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